Somalia: I didn’t say 180 died – Somalia President

Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, President of Somalia [REUTERS]

SOMALI President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has denied saying 180 Kenyan soldiers were killed during the January 15 al Shabaab attack in El Adde, Somalia.

Mohamud, through spokesperson Daud Awes, said he was “misquoted”.

He said the figure was not meant to be the actual number of dead Kenyan soldiers.

Sources at Villa Somalia (State House) said the retreat follows Kenya’s protest letter to Mogadishu, about the claims which Kenya said was “grossly out of order”.

The President said he was only describing the size of the camp and the number of soldiers thought to be present during the attack.

Last Thursday, in an interview on a Somali TV channel, Mohamud was quoted saying at least 180 to 200 soldiers were killed by the militants.

“When 180 or close to 200 soldiers who were sent to us are killed in one day in Somalia, it’s not easy,” he told Somali Cable TV.

“The soldiers have been sent to Somalia to help us get peace in our country, and their families are convinced that they died while on duty.”

Sources in Somalia said the retreat came amid a deep discomfort from Kenya concerning the claims, saying it was in bad taste.

On Thursday KDF spokesperson David Obonyo accused the President for trivialising the matter.

“They are not mere statistics. They ought to be treated with honour and respect,” he said.